Opinion Piece: Is Social Media Detrimental to Society?
Social media seduces us into spending more time on our devices. It sends us notifications and advertisements that pop up on our feeds. Soon we become addicted and are distracted from living the meaningful lives we should be living.
Tristan Harris, Google’s former design ethicist, was in charge of making sure Google acted in an ethical manner. He said in the new movie, The Social Dilemma, that we have, “fallen under a spell.” In the movie, he and other experts described the many problems of social media, and how these problems, if left unsolved, have significant effects on society. Social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have three main goals. They aim for engagement, growth, and advertising. In an attempt to reach these goals, there has been a clear shift from presenting these platforms as tools for connectivity to the creation of an addiction and manipulation-based technology environment.
Social media is a business, and it makes money off of us. The more people engaging in social media, the more these platforms earn money. The people interviewed in the movie said that social media poses an existential threat to our society. It exposes us to fake news, which causes extreme political turmoil and forms a considerable divide. The movie also notes a tremendous increase in the suicide rates of teenage girls as a result of the effects of social media on their mental health.
I’m not saying that the internet and social media platforms haven’t had positive impacts on society, but we must also take the negative impacts into consideration, and understand that their own creators believe it can lead to the downfall of the human race.